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Price of fish and chips soars by up to 40 per cent after stormy seas cause problems for fishermen

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: February 21, 2014

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The recent storms have battered the price of Britain's favourite supper - causing the wholesale price of fish to soar by more than 40 per cent.

Many Devon and Cornwall fishing vessels have been unable to set sail because of the stormy seas, cutting supply and pushing up prices.

Wholesalers are being forced to pay 40 per cent more for favourites such as haddock, plaice and whiting caught in the Atlantic Ocean.

However, the price hike is yet to filter down to retail level and the average portion of fresh fish and chips has only risen by 10 per cent so far, around 35p per portion.

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Other species of fish have been almost impossible to get hold of, and many fish markets have found themselves completely empty over the past few weeks.

Jonathan Adams, the president of the National Federation of Fishmongers, said: "The price of fish is always affected by the weather - when it goes up, consumers must expect to pay as much as 10 per cent more.

"Obviously not many people who do fish and chips actually use fresh fish any more but those who do will have probably had an increase of about £3 per kilo.

"That would probably work out at about an extra 35p per portion of fish.

"Buyers have had about a 30-40 per cent price increase recently and some things have been virtually impossible to get hold of.

"When I went to Brixham fish market the other week they had absolutely no produce available for just the second time in ten years.

"It should be back down again within the next couple of weeks, I guess it all depends on what happens next."

Over the past 12 months wholesale prices for popular white fish such as cod, haddock and whiting have risen dramatically.

Haddock has shot up in price to £1,474 a tonne, up 54 per cent, while plaice has soared to £1,246, or a 51 per cent increase.

But now fishmongers are facing further difficulties due to the shortages caused by the bad weather.

Fishmonger Malcolm Smith, who has run a market stall for more than 35 years, said: "Usually fishing boats go out for five to seven days but they have only been able to get out for a day or two because of the bad weather down in Cornwall and Devon.

"Prices can fluctuate by up to 35 per cent in just seven days but we try to even out the prices throughout the year so that we don't shock the customers.

"The prices are starting to come down again now because there are more fish in the system. Things will improve week on week.

"Fish are a bit like the stock market. It is the only product these days that is still auctioned. They sell for the price that buyers want to pay."

The government body, Seafish, reassured people that most of the rise caused by recent weather will be taken on by business owners until the price drops back to normal levels.

Whilst many prices have been on the rise, products such as sea bass and bream, have remained relatively fixed due to fish farms around the county.

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